The Testimony of Mirek
I want to take some time to write about the joy that I once again have because of this beautiful truth of Universal Salvation. I will start from the beginning and try to make it as short as possible so not to bore you to sleep! I grew up like many of my brethren in the Catholic church. But, it was more like an agnostic Catholic faith that I was given. What I learned even had a name for it.. "twice a year Catholic." My family never told me about God or the Bible or anything that like that. So I grew up with the only knowledge of God coming from angry nuns in CCD Classes.
This was a traditional Polish Catholic church, and taught many disturbing things like children in Hell and God's Judgment (ofcourse this judgment was for everyone NOT under the Catholic umbrella) on Mankind. I listened to it but luckily for me I goofed around most of the time and didn't believe in that nonsense, although I really couldn't have cared less at the time anyway. So I grew up without God being in my life, and later the words of Christ would really ring true that WIDE is the path of Destruction and most are on that path.
In a quiet suburban middle school I found all the drugs a kid could handle. I was in 6th grade when I started doing drugs (Marijuana, LSD, Mushrooms...etc.). This led to partying like few college students in the area at almost half their age and less than half their size. Me and my friends would take much pride in the amounts we would do and how we compared to older folks. Believe me, there is no suburb free of drugs. Before I drank a beer or smoked a cigarette, I was smoking pot regularly (at least once a day). This of course led to more terrible things like Cocaine, Methamphetamines, liquor and violence, all before my freshman year in High school.
When I started High-school most of the guys sold drugs from were still there, and believe it or not they weren't dumb intellectually but were actually A or B students. But, nonetheless our group was well received, never had any trouble with bullies because the upperclassmen (also druggies) were our friends and this was well-known throughout the school. Much of my Middle School and early High-school life is a blur, there was times of fighting, running from police (sometimes we got away), cursing my family, lusts and shaking my fist at God in total defiance.
One of my friends was drinking one night with some other kids in the winter...(a nasty Buffalo winter)...and they decided to walk to Tim Hortons (coffeeshop), at night. The sidewalks were covered in walls of snow and so they walked along the side of the street. A driver didn't see them until it was too late, he turned the wheel in hopes of avoiding hitting them, this caused his whole car to turn and side-swiped my friend, his girlfriend, and 4 others, killing them all. Because of the weather conditions that night (white-out), the driver had his license revoked for a time and had to take some classes. This friend of mine was a great guy, he was in our group but didn't do so much as we did, so we pushed him to the periphery of the group.
His death tore me apart inside... .I had to sit in the back of my English class without my buddy, no more passing notes making fun of the teacher. I started to look into the BIG questions for the first time in my life, the WHYS, HOWS, even though I didn't believe in God, I still blamed Him. I started to read and read: Lee Strobel, Josh McDowell, Ravi Zacharias, C.S. Lewis, Max Lucado...and I kept finding the same thing...these guys have got something!! I WANT IT TOO!! So I asked God to take my life, I told Him that He was either going to help me or I was going to drive liquored up into a tree. Well, He met me half-way with open arms, yes He even RAN to me, ME! What was so special about me, a waste of space sinner? Apparently He told me through His Word that I mean enough to Him that He sent His ONLY Son to take all my sins on that sick torturous tree and He nailed Him to it. I was absolutely leveled, I found IT, my heart was overwhelmed, my eyes were gushing with tears, my stomach hurt from my GRIEF and JOY flowed from my now removed stain, He took the weight of the world off of me, I was SAVED!!
"What do I do now" I thought. "Gotta by me a Bible and read it, I've been reading everything else, why not delve into the Book that I got this great joy from?" I bought a 6 dollar King James Version because it looked like it was the most read...there was an entire rack with KJV Bibles. I got it and started to read it, but it made no sense to me. I couldn't undertand it at all. So I bought an NIV, and the floodgates opened! The TRUTH came pouring in, I was filled with joy from every page, reading about what my Lord said and the audacity with which He spoke to the authorities...who did they think they were dealing with? This was Jesus Himself! I laughed and laughed when Philip said that a months wages could make enough to feed all those people, and how that blind man seeing the interest the Pharisees had with getting information on this Jesus asked them "Why do you want to know, do you want to be His disciples too?"
How awesome was the Bible! I couldn't believe it, this is the same Bible I railed against with my buddies. Of course the drugs stopped, the drunkenness stopped, the lusts stopped, the hate stopped, and my friends were dumbfounded.. "He's all religious now," "little Buddha thinks he's better than us", "He must have cracked", "Mirek doesn't come out anymore", "Anti-Social"...etc. I invited them to my home for bonfires and we would drink a few beers and ofcourse they would ask me about my faith.. I told them "Its not a religion, its the Person who filled the emptiness" I told them to research into the Resurrection, but it all fell on deaf ears.
My family thought I joined a cult, anything that isn't Catholic was a cult to them. But, in fact I did join many churches looking for the one that fit me. I loved being surrounded by my Brothers/Sisters in Christ! I devoted all my time in finding a good church.
Then came this teaching of HELL. Ohhh, it would send shivers down my spine. The Love of Christ was being replaced with fear and dread of eternal punishment of everyone I knew, my entire family, friends, EVERYONE who didn't say Jesus is Lord and truly mean it...that's a lot of people! I would picture my family in this fiery cavern (plus I have a very active imagination!) crying out to me over and over. The depression I used to have back in my druggie days was flooding back into my life. I had this amazing Joy until I looked at my Mom and Sister and my Dad and Grandparents, my little cousins, and my friend who died in the carwreck..."Why didn't you MAKE ME BELIEVE" Is what they would always cry out. Always. And I would be in "Heaven" crying, "I'M SORRY", how painful a feeling it is to see a loved one get burned, now I seen them being tortured in this Fiery place of damnation, with no hope of being redeemed.
What kind of religion had I gotten myself into?? What happened to that first moment of salvation when Jesus came into my life and I felt His LOVE? It was being trumped by His "Righteous Anger" and "JUDGMENT DAY!" This was NOT what I signed up for. Jesus, this was NOT what I asked for!! Why take my burden of sin and give me such JOY then give me the burden seeing my family burn forever??!! What could I do? These preachers/ministers/pastors/priests--ALL of them preached a place of even worse magnitude and quoted directly from my Bible!
I was at a loss; my God what have I opened my eyes to? I would ask questions that would not be answered, I was hoping for anything--even if it meant a refutation of Jesus' Deity but I knew from the research that He is who He said He Is...
Behold I make ALL things new! What Joy filled my heart when I began to study the teaching on the Tentmaker website in depth! There was nothing in context that suggested this place was even considered by GOD, His word was in fact His WORD and it did not have eternal punishment as a consequence, I found the opposite to be true, He is in FACT the Saviour of the World, not just the few who heard the TRUE message of redemption and accepted, but restitution of ALL things in Christ!
He saved me, but it wasn't from this place that the preachers were talking about, it was from my sins that enveloped and completely covered me.. I was entrenched in filth with no way out. I was going to destroy myself, there is no doubt in my mind.. Suicide was fast becoming a viable way out, I turned to God and He delivered. That Joy disappeared with the inclusion of a "Hell" in God's Will and it came back tenfold with Hell being cast away forever....and by forever I mean really FOREVER!!
I hope this testimony will move hearts towards the Truth of God's Love for ALL, not just the few who hear the Gospel. It is indeed FINISHED! Lets take Him at His Word...AMEN I searched for God's Truth and was first led to a site called what-the-hell-is-hell.com, from there went to Tentmaker.org and found the Scholars Corner. That is where I further researched and found the TRUTH. I owe my joy to this wonderful website, and I will see you ALL in Jesus' loving arms and will thank you again there.. THANK YOU!!